News / Asia

    Source: Suspects in India Teen-hanging Case May Walk Free, for Now

    Indian policemen show two men (L and 2nd R), who are accused of gang raping and hanging two girls, to the media at Budaun district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, May 30, 2014.
    Indian policemen show two men (L and 2nd R), who are accused of gang raping and hanging two girls, to the media at Budaun district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, May 30, 2014.
    Reuters

    Indian federal investigators will not oppose applications for bail by five men arrested over the murder of two teenage girls hanged from a tree, a source familiar with the case said, paving the way for the suspects' release.

    The killings in May in India's most populous state shocked the world and stoked political tension between newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state officials over the investigation of the case.

    Initial inquiries had suggested the two cousins, aged 14 and 15, and belonging to a low-caste community, were raped before being hanged from a mango tree, highlighting a breakdown in law and order in northern Uttar Pradesh state.

    The suspects, three brothers and two policemen, are being held in jail in the town of Budaun, 198 km (123 miles) southeast of the capital, New Delhi. They become eligible for bail upon the expiry of a 90-day period for authorities to press charges.

    That deadline passed on Tuesday for one of the suspects, while for the others it falls on Thursday.

    The decision by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) not to oppose bail follows a forensic report last week that ruled out sexual assault, and another preliminary report by a medical panel that reached a similar conclusion.

    “The CBI won't oppose a bail plea if it comes ... initial reports do not say that they are likely culprits,” the source, who had direct knowledge of the CBI probe but sought anonymity in the absence of authority to disclose details, told Reuters.

    “They have pointed out inconsistencies in the initial post-mortem and have called the doctors and staff for further consultation,” the source added, referring to the medical panel.

    No lawyer has so far been hired by the suspects to post bail. Reached by telephone through a neighbor, the mother of the three brothers who are suspects said she was satisfied with how the investigation was going.

    “We are short of money so we have not talked to lawyers yet,” she said in response to questions relayed by the neighbor. “When money is arranged we will try to get bail.”

    Investigators have not been able to substantiate testimony against the suspects from the girls' relatives. While no charges will be filed at this stage, the suspects have not been declared innocent and the CBI probe will continue, the agency has said.

    In a speech this month, Modi said India was shamed by increasing reports of sexual violence against women and girls.

    The number of rapes reported rose 35.2 percent to 33,707 in 2013, with about a tenth of those reported in Uttar Pradesh, data from the National Crime Records Bureau showed.

    India stiffened its rape laws after the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi in 2012 sparked street protests nationwide.

    Still, sex crimes against women remain widespread. Females from poor and marginalized communities are often among the victims, activists say, while many such crimes go unreported or are not properly investigated.

    Honor killings?

    Archaic practices such as lynching women accused of witchcraft, honor killings and dowry murders persist in India because they remain socially acceptable, a United Nations official said last year.

    Before the CBI probe, the Uttar Pradesh state police suggested the girls could have been victims of so-called 'honor' killings. A senior state police officer reiterated that stance last week.

    Honor killings, a crime usually seen in rural and conservative parts of India, target individuals considered to have brought dishonor to their families through actions relatives believe have damaged their reputation.

    The victims' families have consistently denied any role in the killings, and say they will personally oppose bail applications by the suspects.

    “Everything is a lie. If the boys are let off, we will fight,” the father of one of the victims told Reuters by telephone. “We can also commit suicide, we can do anything.”    

     

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    Iran Orders Social Media Sites to Store Data Inside Country

    New requirements are expected to affect the instant messaging app Telegram, which has more than 20 million users inside Iran

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora